The post-operative process may be quite painful and long, but in order to help make the healing faster and to go back to the regular activities, you should do a set of exercises to help the fingers go back to their natural state as soon as possible. There is a set of activities and exercises recommended by professionals that one can do on their own and daily to speed up the recovery process. Rehabilitation consists of finger exercises that help reduce swelling and alleviate the pain, while allowing the muscles to stretch and get stronger, which will, eventually, lead to the return of full functions of the fingers.
When to Start?
The sooner the better! It is very important to start with the finger exercises after the surgery to help avoid the stiffness of the fingers. These exercises should be done three or four times a day for the first four weeks after the surgery. A patient should do the exercises for 5-10 repetitions each.
Examples of such exercises can be opening and closing the hand, tendon gliding exercises, and finger exercises. A patient should also avoid heavy lifting and strenuous activities.
Tendon Gliding Exercises
Tendon gliding exercises start by firstly holding the hand in a straight position for a few seconds. After that, bend the fingers in the 90-degree angle, before touching the palm by bending the upper part of the fingers in a 90-degree position. Form a hook with your fingers and hold before forming a fist. Hold the hand in the fist position and continue with the formation of the straight fist. Finally, release the fist and put the hand in the straight position.
Isolate the tip of the finger and bend and straighten the tip. Hold the rest of the finger in place with the other hand. Do some finger stretches while you are sitting at a table. Separate the fingers and join them again for five seconds.
Another finger exercise is whole finger stretching which is done by lifting the hand and turning the palm to face your body. Slowly love the fingers towards the palm as far as they will go. Try not to bend the knuckle closest to the fingernail. Put the thumb over the fingers and hold for 10 seconds. Slowly and gently return the fingers to the starting position and relax for 10 seconds between repetitions.
A good way of reducing the swelling is to do some arm lift exercises. Slowly lift the arm above your head and hold for 10 seconds. Slowly and gently return the arm and relax for 10 seconds. Repeat a few times during the day to reduce swelling and alleviate the pain naturally.
Place the hand on a table or another flat surface and hold the affected finger with the other hand. Make sure the other fingers are flat on the table and lift the treated finger up and try to maintain the position for a few seconds. Raise the finger enough to feel some stretching. Repeat several times during the day.
Straighten the fingers and join them, stretch the treated finger to feel a light stretch and hold for a few seconds before returning it to the original position. Stretch the finger forwards and backward and maintain for a few seconds.
Another option you can try is squeezing the tennis ball for five seconds. Repeat five to ten times a day. Also, try putting a rubber band on your fingers and stretch them with the rubber band. Make a repetitive pumping action. This exercise should be repeated up to 15 times.
Put your hand on a flat surface and join the treated finger with the next one and press it with your other hand. Separate the fingers and apply resistance; repeat daily.
Make a V shape with the affected finger and the adjoining finger. Use the other hand to push these fingers against other fingers before joining them together
Place the towel folded in half on the table. Put the hand on the towel with the palm facing the table. Grab and scrunch the towel and simultaneously apply pressure to the fist. Maintain the position for a few seconds before slowly straightening the fingers. Release the towel and repeat 8-10 times during the day.
Place a variety of objects such as paper clips, coins, pencils, marbles, tissues, and buttons on a table. Try picking up the items between the thumb and affected finger. Do this exercise for five minutes twice a day.
Additionally, try scrunching a piece of paper into a small ball. Straighten the paper with your fingers and repeat for 10 times twice a day.